Program Description

The Gene Researcher for a Week program was created to foster the growth of genetic clinician-scientists through high school students in Canada.

GRFAW program provides a learning experience for students who have not had lab experience from other programs or work opportunities. The program offers the participants to spend one week in a research lab during their spring break.

Students will participate in the lab activities with as much hands on experience as possible. The GRFAW program is a great opportunity for YOU to learn about human genetics research and connect with the scientific community.

Selection Criteria: candidates are selected based on the following criteria:

  • Must be a Canadian resident
  • Must be a high school student in grade 11 or 12, CEGEP-I or Sec5 for Quebec residents
  • Must be 16 years of age by January 1st of the participation year
  • Must have a high academic standing (overall GPA of 85% or higher)
  • Must show an interest in pursuing a career/education in human genetics
  • Must be well rounded in all areas (academic, volunteer and extra-curricular activities)
  • Must complete application form and submit all required documentation by deadline

Application Deadline: December 24, 2017.

How to apply:

  • Student Application Form: apply online here for 2018 GRFAW. Program application is open from November 1st, 2017 and closes December 24, 2017.
  • Student Essay: upload an essay (300-500 word) within the application. Your essay must include all of the following:
    • Overall average across all subjects as a percentage grade for your previous completed academic year,
    • Why you should be a GRFAW candidate,
    • Why you are passionate about science and how you have pursued that interest in science at school, work or in the community,
    • Character attributes that would make you a good scientist,
    • Your future education and career plans,
    • What volunteer and extra-curricular activities you participate in, and what you have learned from them,
    • How you hope to benefit from this experience.
  • Teacher Recommendation: submit your teacher name and email address in your application. Teachers will be directly contacted to submit their letter by no later than January 12, 2018.
  • Parental Consent: submit your parent/guardian contact info within your application. Parents will be directly contacted to submit their letter by no later than January 12, 2018.


Applications that have been received by December 24, 2017 will be forwarded to the review committee. Student placements are processed before the spring break dates provided in the application form.

Important notes:

CIHR- Institute of Genetics is responsible for:

  • Placing students in labs as close to their home as possible. It is good to know that up to 35% of the selected applicants may be placed outside of their own city or province,
  • Assisting with the booking of accommodations, if required,

Those students who are placed in a laboratory outside of their home city will receive up to $500 travel and accommodation grants. Copy of receipts and invoices is required for reimbursement process.

It is CIHR-IG’s goal that no eligible student should be denied access to the program for financial reasons. CIHR-IG will endeavor to keep costs down for participants by placing them in labs closest to their home location. In cases of financial hardship, where travel is required, CIHR-IG will endeavor to help students raise the required funds through program sponsors or other means.

Students accepted into the program will be responsible for:

  • Ensuring online parental consent/waiver has been submitted by parent or guardian,
  • Travel arrangements to and from the lab (including airfares and accommodations if required),
  • ensuring that all travel and accommodation costs is paid by student up front,
  • Any additional air travel/accommodation, food and ground transportation from/to the lab,
  • Completing an exit survey and essay upon completion of the program.

Inquiries about the GRFAW program can be forwarded to